Community Food System Coalition Comes Alive in Westside Atlanta

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C. Shaheed DuBois, coalition resident leader

HWG banner logoHistoric Westside Gardens (HWG) recently won funding as the lead agency for a multi-neighborhood collaborative initiative to create a community food system coalition with residents and other stakeholders in the Choice Neighborhoods Atlanta area, which is a provisional planning district including the Ashview Heights, Atlanta University Center, and Vine City neighborhoods as portions of Atlanta’s Neighborhood Planning Units (NPUs) L and T. HWG is a volunteer-led community non-profit organization primarily known for to contributing to the food security needs in the Westside Atlanta neighborhoods of Vine City and English Avenue.

127This current project was developed from a community food system assessment final report named “Food First! An Urban Agriculture-Based Local Economy for Choice Neighborhoods Atlanta”, produced by the Atlanta Metro Food & Farm Network (AM-FFN). AM-FFN is partnering with HWG for the development of the Choice Neighborhoods Atlanta community food system coalition, having also facilitated a one day community visioning charette on August 18, 2012 at the campus of a local public charter school, Atlanta Preparatory Academy in Vine City (see more info HERE).

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Vine City resident J.R. Murphy tending a crop at Historic Westside Gardens

WANDA PROFILE

Atlanta University Center Community Association President Wanda Whiteside

A $12,500 grant was awarded to support this work by The Neighborhood Fund, an initiative of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta that empowers community members to positively impact neighborhoods at the local level. Building upon grassroots ideas and energy, Neighborhood Fund provides grants and support to community groups to build relationships, develop leadership and change communities within the 23-county region. Funding for Historic Westside Gardens (HWG) was based on its dedication to building a civic engagement and leadership development opportunity with residents focused on quality food access and urban agriculture, including community gardens and neighborhood farms. Resident leaders involved with the grant application include Wanda Whiteside, Larry Carter, and J.R. Murphy.

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AM-FFN staff presenting information at the Just Us Neighbors community meeting in the Ashview Heights neighborhoods.

ECO-Action Inc’s Atlanta Metro Food & Farm Network (AM-FFN) is also highly engaged with HWG and the community and is dedicated to providing ongoing support for building the coalition. AM-FFN’s community food system assessment for the area was commissioned by the Atlanta Housing Authority, which in 2010 was awarded a HUD-funded Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant to develop a strategy for revitalizing the former University Homes area and surrounding neighborhoods in West Atlanta. The coalition will seek to include interested neighborhood residents as well as participants like  area urban gardeners and farmers or farming groups such as HABESHA Inc at the Omenala Griot Museum in Ashview Heights, the Community Gardening Program of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and university faculty or staff programs within the area such as the Morehouse Research Institute.

For more information about the Choice Neighborhoods Atlanta community food system coalition or to express interest in joining the group if you are an area stakeholder, please send inquiries to atl.metro.food@gmail.com. 

 

 

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